Both Ian and David were born 1920 Georgetown British Guiana and both attended Morrisons Academy, Crieff.
Pilots who had not completed their courses at RAF Cranwell were enlisted in the regular RAF as airmen under training pilots. Ian MacDougall passed out on 21 October 1939 with a permanent commission and was posted to RAF 141 Squadron, which was reforming at RAF Turnhouse.
His squadron moved to RAF West Malling, near Maidstone, Kent, on 12 July 1940. On 19 July 1940, 12 Bolton Paul Defiants from the squadron were moved forward to RAF Hawkinge and at 12.23 hours they took off on an offensive patrol 20 miles south of Folkestone. Three aircraft did not take off due to engine trouble.
The nine remaining Defiants were attacked by Messerschmitt BF 109s of Luftwaffe Gruppe III, Jadgeschwader 51. Ian MacDougall’s Defiant L6983 was hit in the engine. He ordered Sergeant J F Wise, his turret air gunner to bale-out, then managed to get the aircraft back to West Malling. Wise did not survive.
Ian MacDougall was posted to RAF 260 Squadron (Hurricanes) at RAF Drem on 2 May 1941 and they left for the Middle East, later that month. They were based at Haifa with detachments at Beirut (Lebanon) and El Bassa (Palestine), moving on to bases such as Sidi Rezegh (near Tobruk), Gazala (west of Tobruk), Msus (south-east of Benghazi), Antelat (south of Benghazi), Benina (east of Benghazi), Martuba (south of Derna). He was promoted to flight commander at the end of 1941. On 5 April 1942, he had a share in the destruction of a Junkers JU88 and was awarded the DFC on 15 May 1942.
‘This officer has been engaged in operational flying since October 1939 and took part in numerous sorties by day and night whilst operating from this country. In the Middle East, he has performed much valuable work leading his flight with great skill and zeal on low-level machine-gunning attacks. Throughout he has displayed tremendous keenness and set a high standard.’
Ian commanded RAF 94 Squadron in the Western Desert from February to May 1942 (Hawker Hurricane’s and Curtiss P-40s) then returned to Britain. His next posting was to Malta in May 1943 where he joined RAF 1435 Squadron, equipped with Spitfires. In June 1943, he was given command of RAF 94 Squadron at RAF Kendri (Malta). Flying a Spitfire on 8 July 1943, he damaged a Messerschmitt BF109 and on 20 August 1943, he shared in the destruction of a Cant Z.506 Airone triple-engined floatplane of the Italian Regia Aeronautica. In January 1944, he returned to Britain and commanded RAF 131 Squadron from May to October 1944. Ian stayed in the RAF after the war becoming Chief Flying Instructor at RAF Cranwell and a War Studies lecturer at the USAF Academy in Colorado. In 1965, he was Chief Air Staff Officer at RAF 38 Group and went on to be Air Defence Commander in Zambia. He was made CBE in 1967 and was Air Attaché in Paris until retiring on 27 December 1969 as Air Commodore. He passed away in August 1987.
A fortnight before Ian’s DFC, David his older brother was awarded an immediate DFC for the part he played in the offensive operations from the island of Malta. Since October of 1941, Pilot Officer David MacDougall, RAF 355 Squadron, flew hundreds of hours on night operations. Many were undertaken in severe weather – he distinguished himself on a night operation during February 1942 where he obtained three hits on an enemy convoy of cruisers and destroyers. This may have been the attack on the night of 15/16 February 1942: from RAF Hal Far on Malta, five Fairey Albacore single-engined biplane torpedo bombers of RAF 828 squadron attacked an enemy force of four cruisers and eight destroyers – hits were observed on two cruisers and one destroyer.
David joined the RAF in 1940 and was gazetted on 30 March 1945 as acting Squadron Leader of RAF 355 Squadron. From 18 August 1943 until they disbanded 31 May 1946, the squadron was equipped with Consolidated Liberator III, VI and VIII long-range four-engined bomber aircraft. They carried out operations against the Japanese during the Burma Campaign flying out of RAF Salbini (Bengal), RAF Digri (Bengal) and RAF Pegu (Burma). The squadron mounted numerous raids on the Burma–Siam railway along with other important targets such as bridges, airfields, port facilities, supply dumps, gun positions, and marshalling yards
Ian and David were the sons of Councillor Archibald and Mrs MacDougall, Barima Villa, Cawdor Crescent, Dunblane (a reference stated that David was from Taynuilt, Argyll.)
Luftwaffe JG51 was commanded by Theodor ‘Theo’ Osterkamp. The unit lost 68 pilots during the Battle of Britain. Osterkamp was a First World War fighter ace, holder of the Pour le Mérite (Blue Max), with 32 victories achieved; he scored a further six victories during the second World War. He survived the war and died in 1975.
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was known as the Kittyhawk in RAF service.
On the island of Malta, on the night of 15/16 February 1942 during 20 hours of constant air raids, one bomb from a Junkers JU88 hit a cinema and killed 15 civilians and 26 servicemen, with at least 29 others wounded. A total of 30,000 buildings suffered destruction or damage during the siege. During 1941 and 1942, there were 3,000 air raids, making Malta the most bombed location. The George Cross was awarded to the island of Malta by King George VI on 15 April 1942.
Research by Ken Bruce